Innocent drivers and accident victims ultimately pay for the dishonesty of those intent on insurance fraud.
Innocent drivers and accident victims ultimately pay for the dishonesty of those intent on insurance fraud. However, in an example of judges clamping down, one ‘crash for cash’ conman was hit with a 12-month jail term and financial orders which ruined him.
The market trader had either ‘staged’, or entirely invented, an accident in which he claimed to have suffered whiplash injuries. He sought £15,000 in damages from motor insurers who became suspicious and put him under surveillance. It emerged that he had been involved in an intimate relationship with the driver of the other car purportedly involved in the accident.
His claim was dismissed after a judge found that his evidence, both written and oral, was dishonest. In those circumstances, the insurers sought his committal to prison for contempt of court. In sentencing him to immediate imprisonment, the High Court found that his claim had been fraudulent from the outset and that, had it not been for the insurers’ ‘detective work’, he might well have got away with it.
The Court noted that such behaviour struck at the heart of the civil justice system, led to higher insurance premiums for innocent motorists and undermined the position of genuine accident victims. The man was ordered to reimburse more than £5,400 which he had been paid by the insurers prior to the discovery of his deceit. He was also ordered to pay £45,000 in legal costs.